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Politics

Three Pending Bills Remain In The General Assembly As The End Of Session Nears

As part of the 2013-14 state budget, the State Board of Education is required to study virtual charter schools and propose draft rules.
Ian Usher via Flickr
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As budget writers at the North Carolina General Assembly are meeting this week to work toward an agreement on the state's spending plan, there about a dozen more bills they have not yet approved.
 
Some, such as a bill to clean up Duke Energy's 33 coal ash ponds to prevent contamination to the state's waterways, or a bill to repeal parts of the national Common Core academic standards for public school student performance, have been promoted as high priorities by lawmakers since they convened in May, and are likely to be negotiated and sent to Gov. Pat McCrory for signature.
 
Others, namely five that have been pending since the first half of the legislative session last year, are highly unlikely to succeed.
 
The future of other bills is less clear. Here are three:
 

Charter Schools
 
Senate bill S793 covers a range of issues pertaining to charter schools. Charter schools are run by private organizations with taxpayer money. This bill would address contention over whether charters are subject to the same disclosure requirements as public schools, including names, positions and salaries of employees.
 
Rep. Charles Jeter (R-Mecklenburg) supported and then took back support to for an amendment that would allow charters to disclose salaries while withholding the names of employees. Governor McCrory said last week that he would "veto any attempt to hide the names of charter school employees from the public record."
 
Business Courts
 
One bill that could have a large and lasting impact pertains to courts that primarily hear cases involving complex business disputes. The bill (S853) would send more cases to business courts and expedite the time it takes cases to navigate the system. It would also send business court appeals, which are currently heard by the N.C. Court of Appeals, directly to the state Supreme Court.

Sen. Tamara Barringer (R-Cary), a primary bill sponsor, says it's important those types of courts be able to process cases quickly to foster a business-friendly environment and attract commerce to North Carolina.
 
Regulatory Overhaul (On Environmental, Health, Business And Other Issues)
 
Another bill would potentially overhaul a wide range of regulations, including some pertaining to the environment, health and business.
 
Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis said earlier this year that they wanted to change regulations on issues affecting health and the environment. But an agreement hasn't been reached, and it seems the bill may languish in a Senate committee.
 
 

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